This year’s batch of strawberry wine started life early one morning in mid April when we headed about an hour south of Atlanta to our favourite pick your own farm. There was a slight chill in the air when we started but we soon warmed up as we filled half a dozen buckets with ripe red berries.
The recipe comes from my well thumbed copy of “The Complete Book of Home Winemaking” by H.E.Bravery, which dates from 1979 and is a book I have been using for over thirty years, having started my home winemaking career at a rather young age. H.E.Bravery was a prolific author on the topics of home wine and beer making, publishing many books, primarily in the 1960s, such as “Home Brewing Without Failures” and “Home Booze: Complete Guide for the Amateur Wine and Beer Maker”. Some of his writing now seems a little dated, especially as a lot of the science and equipment used in home beer and winemaking has moved on since he wrote his books but many of the fundamentals are still sound.
This recipe uses what Bravery calls “the Campden method” as it uses Campden tablets, small pills of sodium metabisulphite, which are added to the fruit at the start of the process, killing the wild yeasts and bacteria which could otherwise affect the fermentation process and spoil the flavour of the wine.
I normally make this wine in a one gallon batch but as that produces a mere six bottles I decided to go large this year and make a five gallon batch, so we can enjoy the taste of summer for a lot longer. It does mean a lot more cleaning and sanitising work when it comes to bottling it but it is worth it once you have a good stash of rosé in your cellar.
The recipe below is for one UK gallon (160 fl.oz).
From “The Complete Book of Home Winemaking” by H.E.Bravery
5 fl.oz freshly made strong tea
1 Campden tablet
Wine yeast and yeast nutrient
Approximately 1 gallon of water
Boil the sugar in 3 pints of water for 2 minutes, and leave to cool.
Hull the strawberries and put them in a large food safe plastic bucket. You can get large plastic food containers from restaurant supply stores or plastic fermenting buckets from home wine making shops.
Crush the berries well by hand. I find a potato masher usually does the trick.
Add the tea and mix in half a gallon of water and one Campden tablet, crushed and mixed with two tablespoons of water. The addition of tea might sound slightly odd but it adds tannin into the equation, achieving a much better final result.
Add the cooled sugar / water mixture.
Add the wine yeast and nutrient, cover and leave to ferment for 7 days, stirring daily. You can get wine yeast and yeast nutrient at any good home winemaking supply store. They can advise you on the best choice of yeast for the wine style you are making and the quantity of yeast and nutrient to add to your wine, depending on the quantity you are making.
Pour carefully into a gallon jar leaving behind as much deposit as you can. Fill up the jar with cooled boiling water to where the neck begins, fit a fermentation lock and leave it until all fermentation has stopped.
At this stage you can bottle the wine, siphoning it into sterilised bottles before corking them.
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